DOJ approval of Expedia’s acquisition of Orbitz means 95% of all online travel agency bookings will be controlled by two players.
Much to the disappointment of the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AH&LA), the Department of Justice has approved Expedia’s acquisition of Orbitz. AH&LA has lobbied against the deal because it consolidates almost all bookings by online travel agencies, or OTAs, in a duopoly.
“By approving this deal, only two players control the online marketplace: Priceline and the behemoth Expedia, now owning Orbitz, Travelocity, Hotels.com, Hotwire, Cheap Tickets, and Trivago,” says Katherine Lugar, AH&LA’s President & CEO. Priceline owns Booking.com, OpenTable and Kayak.
“As we’ve said all along, this transaction will result in significant negative consequences for consumers and also the large number of our members who are small businesses and independent hotels. It could lead to increased distribution costs for independent hotel owners who risk seeing booking commissions rise by double digits.”
The association’s advocacy has raised public awareness about the negative impact of online travel consolidation and garnered prominent national media attention in the press. Lugar promises that AH&LA will continue to take action on decisions that threaten the industry and harm guests. The Expeida/Orbitz debate has increased awareness follows the association’s significant work on deceptive online practices, which has generated more than 300 million media impressions.